BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Police Department is investigating after a video surfaced allegedly showing a sergeant coughing near residents.
“We have viewed the video, in its entirety, and believe it warranted being forwarded to the Public Integrity Bureau for an internal investigation,” police said in a statement to WJZ Tuesday.
In the video posted to Murder Ink Baltimore’s Instagram, you see an officer walking through a housing complex.
A woman filming says, “Hey officer friendly with the cherry cheeks.”
The sergeant then begins to cough without covering his mouth, alarming residents nearby.
City Council President Brandon Scott issued a statement on the video, calling for an investigation:
“Today I was made aware of a video of a Baltimore Police Officer deliberately coughing at a resident as he walked by. I immediately forwarded the video to Commissioner (Michael) Harrison for investigation and action. COVID-19 is not a joke and this behavior is beyond unacceptable. When you are in public service, it is your duty to treat everyone with respect, especially when we are dealing with both a public health pandemic and a gun violence epidemic. This is not behavior that we want our police officers or any of our public servants to model to our residents.
“Everyone can contract COVID-19 and all of Baltimore has to take this seriously and treat each other with respect. For public servants, this means carrying out duties with safety and compassion at the forefront of all actions. For citizens, this means adhering to the advice of public health professionals while following government guidelines issued to save lives.
“I will be following up with the Commissioner regarding this disturbing incident.”
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he was aware of the video but hadn’t seen it himself.
The department issued another statement Tuesday evening, saying a “complete investigation” will be undertaken:
“After watching the full video, it its entirety, it is not only disturbing, but incomprehensible, especially considering the high-level of strong and clear guidance that we have provided from the beginning, regarding COVID-19. Members are always expected to be sensitive and professional to the community, but what we saw in the video is alarming because this pandemic is affecting lives not only nationally, worldwide, but right here in our own police department,” Harrison said.
Other Baltimore City leaders also commented on the alleged incident. Councilwoman Shannon Sneed said, “We need to make sure to hold our officers to the highest standards.
There have been a dozen cases of coronavirus reported within the Baltimore Police Department. Over the weekend, 211 employees were quarantined out of an abundance of caution at one police district.